Cheptoo…

“Cheptoo!” “Cheptoo!”

There’s no answer. She must be in there pretending not to hear me.

“Cheptoo?!” “Cheptoo?!”

Aaah, that girl will kill me one of this days with high blood pressure. I should return her to her mother. This cannot be life.

“Cheptoooooo….??!!!?”

She scurries from the living room

“Eeeh Aunty, umeniita? The radio was loud, I couldn’t hear”

“How many times have I called you? Aah, is it  that your ears have grown deaf? Is the wax too much?”

“Pole Auntie aki, sikuskia”

This girl and her one million excuses. What did I ever do to the gods for them to send me this parcel of stubbornness? Ewoo!

“No one ever hears what I say in this house. Yesterday it was the Televishen, today it is the radio. What will it be tomorrow? Eeh? The wind? ”

She stares at me in that unapologetic way she does every time I admonish her.  Tell me, what child looks at her elder’s with those straight forward eyes? Not even an ounce of shame resides in those eyes. The devil lives in this one I tell you.

“Never mind. I need you to run to Chesongoch. Your uncle has sent in some new stock for the shop. Kim won’t be able to handle all the things alone. The lorry will be arriving in an hour’s time. Here’s a list of all the items. Make sure they give you everything in here, sawa? ”

“Sawa Auntie”

“And let me not catch you loitering with that good for nothing bastard of a child at the Centre when you’re done”

“But Auntie I don’t even know whom you’re talking about…”

“Aah-aah, Cheptoo. Do you think I am a child that I do not know what you have been doing, eeh? You think people do not have eyes, eeh?  I have no time for arguments right now. But if I hear anything, and I mean anything, I shall skin you alive.  You shall not bring shame to me. Ke’kass?”

“Yes Auntie”

“Now shoo, be on your way. And change that skirt you are wearing. I do not want people thinking I am grooming you to be like one of those Centre girls”

***

Yes, where was I? This girl will kill me with all her drama. Last term, I was called to Kapkondot for a disciplinary case.  Apparently she and a couple of other girls had been caught sneaking out of school at night. What person in their right mind does such a thing? With all the rapists and wild animals roaming about, why would someone think of doing such a thing? That’s not even the shocking bit. The  Deputy revealed that the girls caught were sneaking out to meet some Jeshuu (GSU) men at the nearby camp. And from his tone, it wasnt the first time.

Imagine thinking you’ve been raising an angel all along while in real sense, you’re living with a mini-Jezebel.

Of course all of us parents who were called gave the school permission to beat the foolishness out of their tiny heads without mercy. Well, that in addition to a two week suspension and  physical labour.

I had honestly thought she’d change after that incident. But just the other day, Mama Amina came to tell me to warn her. “Huyo msichana wako nimemkuta kona zingine hazieleweki. Usipochunga utaletewa mwingine wa kulea”

And it wasn’t Mama Amina alone. A couple of market women had whispered a thing or two to me. Now I am not one to  condone idle banter. But if more than 5 people tell you the same thing, surely there must be some elemeny of truth, right? It’s no longer a rumour though, I affirmed their allegations.

I always wondered why would take so long whenever she went to fetch milk from Kipkeu’s place in the evening.  The distance is barely 15 minutes away.  I had forgotten to give her Kipkeu’s milk money for the month, so I decided to take it in person. That’s when I spotted  her hugging that good for nothing boy in the bushes.

I was furious at both her actions as well as her chosen accomplice.  Of all the boys roaming about the whole village, she had to settle for that one? When I call him good for nothing, it’s because he’s rightfully so. Everybody  knows that. He was discontinued from college for reasons nobody quite knows. Nowadays all he does is drink cheap liquor with men who have never stepped into a classroom. He spends his days playing pool, gambling and running after people’s daughters.

Wasn’t he the one who impregnated Agnes, Sarah and Chemeli?

Cheptoo shall not be an addition to his list.  I shall not be the subject of shame because of her. No. That shall not happen under my watch.

If she cannot tame that fire between her legs, I’ll extinguish it myself. I don’t care what it takes; even if it means tying her with a rope. I will do whatever it takes. I cannot allow her to follow the path her mother took…..

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